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New East Manchester’s official regeneration magazine. Issue Two Spring 2008


Conserving the past for the future Parks at the heart of city life Nurturing the enterprise culture Shayne Ward goes back to his roots





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Contents LookingEast Editor Sarah Herbert Deputy editor Kirsty MacAulay Art editor Terry Hawes Advertisement sales Lee Harrison Production Rachael Schofield Office manager Sue Mapara Managing director Toby Fox Printed by Trade Winds Images Len Grant, Heritage Works, FSP Architects, Daniel Hopkinson, Urban Splash, Manchester Evening News, NEM Published by Lower Ground Floor 189 Lavender Hill London SW11 5TB T: 020 7978 6840 For New East Manchester 187 Grey Mare Lane, Beswick, Manchester M11 3ND Head of marketing and communications Gill Gourley Senior marketing officer Jayne Kilham Marketing and publicity officer Michael Travers Subscriptions and feedback Š 3Fox International Ltd 2008. All material is strictly copyright and all rights are reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without the written permission of 3Fox International Ltd is strictly forbidden. The greatest care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of information in this magazine at time of going to press, but we accept no responsibility for omissions or errors. The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of 3Fox International Limited or New East Manchester.

04 Interview Eddie Smith 06 Bulletin News round up 12 Market report On the rise 16 Conservation Starting over 20 Parks Green gauge 25 Enterprise Industrial evolution 30 Roots Local hero 33 Thought process Medlock Valley 36 Then and now Gorton Monastery 38 Contacts


Interview 0

Moving on Of all the photos he could have chosen for his office wall, Eddie Smith, NEM’s new acting chief executive, chose the transport interchange. By Sarah Herbert.


t is a stunning piece of architecture and engineering, and a symbol of both east Manchester’s renaissance and our place-making agenda. It’s a difficult choice – I love what we’ve done in Ancoats, too, and what we’re doing in New Islington – but of all the pictures on offer for my office wall, I chose the interchange.” Smith, NEM’s deputy chief executive since January 2007 and now acting chief executive is no stranger to the thrill of urban transformation. As head of regeneration at Manchester City Council, he oversaw such citychanging projects as the Pathfinder programme and the redevelopment of the Maine Road site. So, what brought him to NEM? “I’d been tracking NEM’s progress, and joined to secure more operational experience in delivering schemes, and work with the great team,” he says. Smith’s move to the role of acting chief executive coincides with the publication of NEM’s strategic regeneration framework, out in March 2008, written to set its direction for the next 10 years. “Since it was set up in 2000, NEM’s remit has changed in a number of ways,” says Smith. “The city region has seen very strong economic growth, accompanied by an increase in population, which has stimulated the housing market. All this has had an impact on the goals for economic and social change. What’s more, the

remit has changed in physical terms, with the size of its area and population increasing in 2004, when Gorton and Newton Heath were added.” The next 10 years are very much about building on the achievements of the past seven. “The interventions NEM has made have basically arrested the long-term economic and population decline of east Manchester over the latter part of the 20th century,” says Smith. “We’ve stabilised the area and established strong foundations for a prosperous part of the city, reconnected to the core of the conurbation.” Smith sees NEM’s work as concentrating on five main areas. “Firstly, we’ll continue to encourage businesses from competitive economic sectors to remain in or even relocate to east Manchester. Secondly, we’ll continue to renew the physical landscape, providing world-class public realm, high-quality amenity space, iconic buildings, and a really good public transport system.” But it’s not all about physical regeneration. The third priority area is driving up education standards, “to attract and retain working families, the central foundation of economic prosperity and vital to stability.” And the fourth is training and skills. “We’re still faced with considerable levels of worklessness, so must focus our energies on those furthest from the labour market.” His final area of importance focuses again on working families, in neighbourhoods with a mix of incomes. “Our residential offer has to meet

the needs of aspirational households, who value safety and security, public facilities, high quality signature buildings and, quality retail... In short, places where people want to live.” What’s been achieved has been remarkable, but of course there’s a long way to go. “Regenerating the east quarter of Manchester can’t all happen at once. So far, we’ve worked from the city centre outwards. The challenge now is to get momentum in places where the benefit hasn’t been felt as much, such as Gorton and Newton Heath. A lot is coming out of the ground over the next 12-18 months, but residents have to see it to believe it. There’s a lot of developer interest in Newton Heath now the Metrolink [tram] line has been confirmed, and in Gorton new housing and an improved district centre are planned. These – along with the restored monastery, which is putting the area on the map – are real signs of confidence in the area.” And, as the area changes, so will the residents’ ideas of what is possible. “The transformation of areas like New Islington and Ancoats shows what can be done in a short period of time. “We’ve made great progress, but reversing 50 years of decline in seven is a difficult challenge,” Smith admits. “You have to look over 20, 25, even 30 years to really be able to measure the impact of what we’re doing now. Hopefully I’ll still be around to see it all come to fruition, if not in the same job!” ● Visit for the Strategic Regeneration Framework

Building the future The strategic regeneration framework was established to give NEM a new direction for beyond its original 10-year remit, and was informed in part by the interim evaluation of NEM by Professor Michael Parkinson of Liverpool John Moores University. Among his praise for NEM’s work, Parkinson says: “NEM’s ability to make a real difference to both the physical and social environment of this important part of the city in a relatively short space of time is remarkable. This is not only a fine example of best practice but raises the bar for urban regeneration.” Projects highlighted in the report include: n Central Park: the business park will ultimately provide 140,000sq m of business space and generate up to 10,000 new jobs. The report praises the “acquisition, remediation and provision of a high quality business park with good maintenance arrangements”. n Sportcity: an important catalyst for regeneration in east Manchester, and a “new regional magnet and district centre”. n Beswick Neighbourhood Planning: more than 1,100 homes will be created, with a new high school and improved retail facilities. Parkinson remarked that Beswick “is an example in microcosm of the added value that NEM brings to the regeneration programme – pulling together funding partners, engaging private sector and attempting to secure holistic redevelopment”. n New Islington: a 12.5ha site featuring an eco park, new canals, apartments, houses and a health clinic which has “positively influenced private sector attitudes”. n Education programme, which has improved the pass rate of A*-C grades from 19% to over 50%, and “one of NEM’s success stories, with its multi-stranded approach meeting virtually all its targets”.


Bulletin Selecting the street was a bit like choosing a seating plan. You need to make sure they complement one another but also are exciting together. Tutti Frutti will be an incredible place 0

New Islington New Islington, one of the UK’s seven Millennium Communities, is home to innovative communities, with exceptional design and high environmental standards. New parks and canals have been created from 120 hectares of formerly contaminated industrial land, and the country’s most forward-thinking architects are designing innovative communities.

Home sweet home


A unique new street of individually designed houses, dubbed Tutti Frutti, is taking shape. A competition by New Islington developer Urban Splash chose 20 house designs from budding developers, architects or ambitious members of the public wanting to build their own home. All will now be able to buy their own canalside plot of land, with the houses in the order the competition panel thought look best. The terrace (above right) – inspired by a similar development in Amsterdam called Borneo Sporenberg – will be highly variegated, with each house a different height and shape, with wildly differing facades and materials. All will adhere to Millennium community’s environmental aspirations. “Selecting the street was a bit like choosing a seating plan at a dinner,” said judge Peter Saville creative director for Manchester City Council. “You need to make sure they complement one another but ar also exciting together. I think we’ve done a really good job. All the designs are very original and will make Tutti Frutti an incredible place.” Work is planned to start on site in summer 2008.

Botanic Work has also started on the Botanic in New Islington, Bryant Homes’s canalside development of 200 one-, two- and three-bedroomed apartments, designed by ShedKM architects. The scheme comprises two apartment blocks, one of five storeys and one of seven, facing each other across a communal private garden. The homes run the depth of the blocks so have views to the private garden and the city, many via floor-to-ceiling windows.


Islington Wharf Phase one of Isis Developments’ Islington Wharf was topped out in early November 2007, with Manchester City Council leader Sir Howard Bernstein placing the final bolt on the 20th floor. Once completed, the scheme, on a 1.2ha site, will offer 500 homes including four-bedroom family sized apartments, alongside commercial, retail and leisure uses on the banks of the Ashton Canal. The developer is running a design competition for phase II, for architects with an excellent track record in good design and deliverability.


Work started in October 2007 on creating a new market hall in a former Co-Operative supermarket in Gorton. The £1.7 million renovation will create 2,500sq m of retail space to accommodate 74 stalls and a spacious central area to act as a meeting point for shoppers. It will continue to have a strong food offer, one of the main draws of the existing market, with a wide range of consumer goods, fashion and other non-food stalls. The market hall is part of a 4ha retail scheme for Gorton, to include a Tesco Extra, delivered by Ask Developments. Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “We are giving this redundant building a new lease of life. We want to offer a traditional market environment in 21st century surroundings. The market will become a thriving retail hub where people can shop locally and feel they’re getting value for money.” The new market hall is due to open in summer 2008.

Islington Wharf

Islington Wharf is a new mixed-use development on the edge of the Ashton Canal, which will include homes, retail and leisure facilities. It will be linked by canal side walkways and will include a communal podium garden for use by residents.

Bulletin 0

Central Park

Work is now complete on the third office development phase at Central Park, the 130,065sq m urban business park in east Manchester. Developer Ask:Goodman created a ‘village’ of five individual buildings, set around a central landscaped courtyard totalling 4,028sq m. The two- and three-storey buildings, named Madison Place, were built on a speculative basis and range in size from 488sq m to 1,234sq m. The buildings will be particularly suitable for growing businesses looking for the facilities and benefits normally only available to larger occupiers on business parks. Central Park will be the UK’s first large-scale mixed-use urban business park, eventually covering 180 hectares, only 2.4km from Manchester city centre.

NEM name in lights

New East Manchester has been named Regeneration Agency of the Year by Regeneration and Renewal magazine, at the first of its annual award ceremonies. It also scooped the top award in the training category for the Regeneration Assistants project, which provides local people with the opportunity to access jobs in regeneration through a structured, accredited training programme combined with work based experience. On behalf of the judging panel, David Marlow, chief executive of East of England Regeneration Agency, said: “One of the things we liked about New East Manchester is that it combines physical investment and physical change with community involvement and developing the social capital base of residents.”

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the NWDA, a regeneration project at Murray’s Mills strengthened the grade II listed structures, reslated the roofs and put in new windows. The project won a restoration award in the Georgian Group Architectural Awards. The Burrell Company and Inpartnership have detailed planning permission to design and develop the shells into apartments, office space and a hotel. Also on site nearby is Vulcan Works, a combination of a refurbished textile mill and new purpose-built block, providing 215 one- and twobedroomed apartments. Occupying an entire block by the canal basin, the two parts of Vulcan Works will enclose a central courtyard. Developer Artisan has already converted two other Ancoats schemes: Albion Works and Advent. NEM combines physical investment and physical change with community involvement and developing the social capital base of residents

‘New Town’ a step nearer Morrisons to anchor town centre regeneration scheme in east Manchester Morrisons has signed a leasehold deal which will see the company anchoring the £40 million regeneration scheme in Openshaw, east Manchester. Operating in an 80,000 sq ft store with a 35 year lease, the store will be the first large supermarket to serve Openshaw and the Ashton Old Road area. Urban regeneration specialists, Dransfield Properties Ltd, are working in partnership with Manchester City Council and urban regeneration company, New East Manchester, on the new district centre, which is set to transform a large mixed industrial, commercial and residential area into a new shopping, leisure and commercial centre that will create over 700 new jobs. Planning consent was secured earlier this year for the scheme which, due to open in 2009, will deliver the supermarket for Morrisons, ten retail units from 1,765 sq ft to 22,500 sq ft, a 22,500 sq ft leisure unit, up to 57,000 sq ft of office accommodation, café and restaurant facilities and 670 car parking spaces, making this one of the country’s largest transformations. Manchester City Council have supported the scheme by using compulsory purchase powers to guarantee its timing and delivery in order to promote the wider regeneration of the area.

Bulletin The 390 two- and three-storey townhouses, 36 two-bedroom apartments and six bungalows will be a mixture of private and social housing 10 ● OPENSHAW’S NEW LOOK

Openshaw Work has started on the first phase of a major new housing development in the Toxteth Street neighbourhood of Openshaw, a 10.3ha area within 4km of Manchester city centre.

The £65 million scheme, designed as a modern interpretation of traditional terraced streets, will be built to Manchester City Council’s ‘Design for Access’ space standards. The 390 two- and three-storey townhouses, 36 two-bedroom apartments and six bungalows will have secure parking, traffic calming measures and local amenities. The houses will be a mixture of private housing, available for purchase through the developer, Lovell, and social housing available for rent through Adactus Housing Association. The first phase – due for completion in autumn 2008 – will comprise 83 homes, including 65 two, three and four bedroom houses and 18 twobedroom apartments. All homes will be energy-efficient, and particular effort has been made to ensure existing residents can stay in the area.

Meanwhile, supermarket Morrisons has signed a leasehold deal that will see the company anchoring the £40 million Openshaw district centre, in an 8,000sq m store to open in the summer of 2009. It will be the first large supermarket to serve Openshaw and the Ashton Old Road area. Dransfield Properties has been working with Manchester City Council and NEM for four years on the new district centre, set to transform a large industrial, commercial and residential area into a new shopping, leisure and commercial centre that will create over 700 new jobs when it opens in 2009. Consent was secured earlier this year for the scheme, which comprises 10 retail units, a 2,200sq m leisure unit, 5,600sq m of office accommodation, café and restaurant facilities and 670 car parking spaces. ●

More for Miles Platting – The transformation begins There is a lot happening in Miles Platting. The area is at the beginning of a transformation and things are already starting to change. In 10 years time the area will see over 1,500 refurbished homes and over 1,000 new-build family houses and apartments. Since March 2007, Adactus Housing Association – part of the Renaissance Consortium which is undertaking redevelopment work in Miles Platting – has begun a housing management and maintenance programme; a service being provided for all 1,520 Manchester City Council homes in the Miles Platting area. The Renaissance Consortium – a partnership between national affordable housing provider Lovell, Investors in the Community and Adactus – is already underway with the regeneration work which includes the refurbishment of all the council homes in the area and the creation of a further 1,080 new-build family houses and apartments.

Six months into the Consortium’s involvement in Miles Platting, a resident satisfaction survey carried out by Adactus Housing Association showed that nearly 50% of the residents are already seeing noticeable improvements for both the service and the wider area in which they live in. Adactus has extensive experience in housing and currently manages over 11,000 homes across the North West. “We have a wide range of housing services available to residents in Miles Platting,” says Suzanne Bullock, Head of Housing, Miles Platting at Adactus Housing Association. “Working together with the local community and our consortium partners we aim to bring about significant improvements to local housing and provide good quality services that will help local residents. We are very excited to be involved in what will be a spectacular transformation for the Miles Platting area.”

Adactus assumes the responsibility for all day-to-day management and maintenance services of local residents’ homes. This housing management and maintenance service includes; customer service; rent collection; re-housing; dealing with antisocial behaviour; environmental issues; regeneration and a full repairs service.

Adactus is delighted to be at the forefront of the regeneration taking place in East Manchester. A leading partner of the Renaissance Consortium, in Miles Platting, Adactus will manage and maintain the area's Council housing for the next 30 years. In Higher Openshaw, working with New East Manchester, Lovell and the Housing Corporation, we are involved in the Toxteth St. neighbourhood regeneration.


working in partnership to make East Manchester a better place to live x Housing Management and Maintenance Services x Community Investment and Consultation x Employment and Training initiatives

Beyond bricks and mortar, Adactus has organised a range of community events, workshops and activity days to help promote community issues and tackle antisocial behaviour. A recent creativity event at Miles Platting library saw local school children work with a team from Adactus to produce a giant boardgame which promoted good neighbourhoods. A series of events for World Food Day also offered local residents the chance to taste foods from around the world and learn more about healthy eating and cooking. Local residents were also able to get together and find out more about Adactus’ services at a series of fun days during the spring and summer while community environmental projects were also organised by Adactus to help improve public areas and bring the community together and further fun community events are planned throughout 2008. Over the next five years as the refurbishment programme takes place Adactus will be working with the tenants, residents, local councillors and the City Council to improve homes in the area and provide a quality service for the local community. For further information about Adactus Housing Association visit:

Market report 12

On the rise Just about all indicators show that east Manchester’s economy is on the up, a fact reflected in its market values. By David Gray.


y the 1990s, following the collapse of its manufacturing economic base in the 1980s and consequent fall in population, east Manchester had become one of the most socially and economically blighted parts of the country. By 2000 it was at the top of the national Index of Multiple Deprivation, with a poor standard of living, low house prices and large areas of vacant or derelict land. Over 40% of working age adults were workless (based on population rather than household). This is all now turning around. The decline in population has been halted: the current population is almost 63,000, thanks to the increasing dynamism of Manchester as a whole and its strong economic growth. The city of Manchester has a population 452,000, but the conurbation of Greater Manchester, with its 16km radius, is home to more than two million people. While east Manchester’s unemployment, at 5.4%, remains higher than in either Greater Manchester or the rest of the country, it is well down on 2004 (9%), 2001 (12%) and 1998 (14.2%). More than 3,500 new jobs had been created by the end of 2006 and employment growth has out-performed both regional and national trends. NEM’s target of 10,000 new jobs by 2010 looks quite conceivable on this performance. Manchester now employs 280,000 in the service sector, 26,000 in tourism, but has a mere 14,000 in manufacturing.

Prospects for growth are strong, thanks to both the city region’s economic performance and NEM’s policies, but to secure this there will need to be a focus on knowledge-based services. Training is seen as a particular priority, which is being helped by the new resources at One Central Park as well as MANCAT’s campus at Openshaw. NEM’s own key performance indicators are also increasingly healthy. House building is on target, educational attainment is rising impressively and most categories of crime are down – particularly important in attracting and retaining housebuyers and employers.

Other significant residential developments now approaching completion include Countryside Properties’ 700 homes at Sportcity due to be finished by the end of 2008, Persimmon’s second phase of development at Openshaw, where threeand four-bedroom houses are now available from just £160,000, and ING Real Estate’s work in Ancoats, including new flats and the conversion of old mill buildings. The Lower Medlock Valley is likely to be in the next phase of housing development, particularly for more up-market detached homes that east Manchester currently lacks.



The regeneration programme has achieved a great deal in reversing the situation at the end of the 1990s: the house market had collapsed, large numbers of residents were leaving and the vacancy rate was 20%. Now, the area is on target for its goal of 12,500 new homes by 2010, with much-needed improvements made to almost 3,000 homes and the further stock transfer of local authority housing about to speed up this process. Land Registry figures for Manchester show prices rising 108% from 2000. The average sale price in September 2007 was £109,000, with detached houses selling for £241,000, semidetached for £136,000, terraced for £71,000 and flats and maisonettes for £186,000. The comparatively high price of apartments is due to highspecification, often high-rise dwellings recently developed in the city, such as Islington Wharf.

The office market in central Manchester has been very strong in recent years, second only to Birmingham (outside London). Rental can be as high as £28 per sq ft. So far at least, demand remains good and there is no risk of over-supply. Outside the city centre, however, rent levels for good quality offices are significantly lower. South Manchester lettings are £16-20 per sq ft, while north Manchester rents out for between £12£18 depending on the specification. Space can still be found for as low as £4 per sq ft. The most significant office development in east Manchester is Central Park, which is proving very successful, with 275,000sq ft of developed and occupied space. Suites of between 3,500 and 11,000sq ft are available for £16.50 per sq ft. Prospects look good for the 165,000sq ft second phase of development.

Employment growth in east Manchester has outperformed both regional and national trends

12,500 new homes by 2010 Retail and leisure In 2000 NEM was faced with a general lack in retail provision, with no significant shopping centres and a shortage of basic local shops, after many closures in the 1990s. This is, however, improving with the development of new district centres. Transport, while it too also requires better facilities and more investment, is improving. The Metrolink network is being extended into east Manchester to such places as Sportcity, and out to Central Park and Newton Heath. One area where east Manchester has really excelled is sport. The European Institute for Urban Affairs judged Sportcity to be a big success and a new regional magnet. ●

east Manchester’s Central Park office development has 275,000sq ft of space. With suites between 3,500 and 11,000sq ft

office space can still be found for as low as

£4 per sq ft


ds a e l s rtie e p s o ’ r r P e t e s d e h si c y r n t a n M u al t s w Co a e E n e n yi cr i a t a w m e a th dr

Leading sustainable developments

With investment to date exceeding £274 million, the planned £2 billion regeneration of New East Manchester is well and truly underway. The area has already seen a huge transformation from nothing more than a neglected industrial area to a vibrant gateway to Manchester City Centre. Countryside Properties, one of the catalysts for East Manchester’s impressive regeneration programme, has worked closely with the New East Manchester Partnership to develop a sustainable masterplan for this up and coming area. A key part of that masterplan was to improve the standard of living for the existing residents and bring to life those key elements of New East Manchester that had been ignored for decades. These include Philips Park (Manchester’s oldest park) and the Ashton Canal, as well as encouraging more businesses and people both young and mature, back into the area. The development programme has already helped create an impressive array of facilities, which are fast turning the area into a highly cosmopolitan area. At the forefront of the comprehensive renewal programme is Sportcity Living by Countryside Properties. This is New East Manchester’s flagship residential scheme and the first to be built in the area for over 13 years. Following in Countryside Properties footstep many other developments are now underway.

The City of Manchester Stadium, also located in East Manchester and the UK's first major national stadium for over 75 years is now home to Manchester City FC, and the nearby Velodrome also boasts world class sporting facilities. As for those other great passions: food, drink, shopping and other forms of social therapy - with the city centre just a walk away you'll find an exciting and eclectic mix of stylish restaurants, hip bars and chic fashion boutiques to satisfy the most demanding devotee of urban living. The rejuvenated Ashton Canal and restored Philips Park both provide ideal environments for peace and tranquillity away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Such is the success of Sportcity Living’s initial phases which have to date created 512 new homes, that there are now further plans for a significantly larger new community of homes. The soon to be released phase, located adjacent to Philips Park will see the creation of 15, one & two bedroom apartments and 45, two to four bedroom homes. The diverse allocation of homes has been specifically designed to encourage a wide range of buyer types into the area thus creating a mixed and vivacious community of singles, couples and families both young and mature. Countryside Properties will be offering young people still living at home in New East Manchester the opportunity to secure shared equity on 28 of our one, two and three bedroom homes. Sportcity Living is one of the first new build schemes to deliver the ‘First Time Buyers’ Initiative (FTBI), part of the governments wider HomeBuy scheme designed to help house hunters into low-cost home ownership by 2010. Ben Coster, Regional Operations Director at Countryside Properties (Northern) comments: “You only have to look at Manchester’s skyline to see how the city has embraced highly distinctive and contemporary architecture over the past ten years and we wanted to embrace that at Sportcity Living. It has allowed our designers to create a thoroughly modern style of 21st century progression. “While the eye-catching cylindrical shapes of our previous phase compliment the earlier phases, the family homes have been designed with contemporary architecture to enhance the surrounding area and provide access to the park”

e only dicativ s are in e g a Im

The scheme is a huge statement for the area and is set to benefit from major regeneration along the Ashton canal and an integrated pedestrian network to nearby Philips Park. The new residential community will have easy access to a wide range of community, retail and leisure facilities, including the Velodrome, schools and a medical centre. In addition, the new ASDA WalMart is located just across the road. What’s more, the proposed metrolink that will stop just outside the Asda Wal-Mart will further increase market values in the area by significantly improving accessibility in and out of Manchester.

New East Manchester and Countryside Properties has a clear vision for this emerging quarter in which house prices have risen by over 180% since 2001 (Hometrack 2005). More investment in regeneration is being poured into this square mile, which is an immediate area of Manchester, than almost anywhere else in the North West. Subsequently numerous private house builders are embarking on new schemes throughout the area as affordability becomes a major attraction particularly for first time buyers.

NEW PHASE COMING SOON 1 & 2 bedroom apartments 3 & 4 bedroom homes, call for further information

0161 2316067

Conservation 16

Starting over It’s not just rock stars who need rehabilitation. Kirsty MacAulay discovers how the refurbishment of Ancoats’ historic buildings, and returning them to the community, is leading the regeneration of east Manchester.


work physically, economically, socially and environmentally.” As well as standing as a symbol of the area’s history, the mills will be at the forefront of the neighbourhood’s future. It is time for change, according to Andy Burrell, managing director of the Burrell Company, which is developing Murray’s Mills. “There is no call for mill buildings anymore,” he says. “You can hang on to a lot of the

●murray’s mills

decades before plans to resurrect them were finally put in place. As the buildings fell into disrepair so did the local community – crime rates rose and people began to move away. Therefore, the regeneration of the mills is focusing not only on the buildings but also on encouraging people back to the area by creating mixed-use developments. A mix of residential and business use will help create a safe, but lively, atmosphere throughout both day and evening, and ensure the future of the mills is at the heart of a flourishing community. The most important thing when preserving a historic building, according to Stefan Brzozowski of New East Manchester, is to give it a purpose. “Preserving buildings that will then remain empty is a pointless exercise. Getting buildings occupied is one of the key things in conservation – there is no point spending money on them for them to just sit empty.” What’s more, as Brzozowski says, Ancoats has always been a working area so it seems appropriate to retain workspace in the buildings. This point is echoed by Kate Dickson of Heritage Works, behind the shell repair of Murray’s Mills. “If a renovated building is not in use you’ve only preserved it as street furniture,” she says. “It really needs to be brought back into a new use – we want to make heritage

ith projects like Will Alsop’s Chips building or Urban Splash’s Tutti Frutti scheme in New Islington taking centre stage in east Manchester’s regeneration programme, you could be forgiven for thinking that exciting, cutting-edge design in the city is all about newbuild projects. In fact, at the heart of all the headline-grabbing change are the historic mills of Ancoats, whose innovative restoration with modern twists is ensuring that heritage buildings do not just survive but thrive. As the world’s first steampowered cotton mills, they hold a very important place in history as the starting point of the industrial revolution. What’s more, they were also something of an architectural wonder at the time. Built in 1798, the Old Mill (part of a current restoration project) was eight storeys tall: this was unheard of at the time, when the only other constructions of such magnitude were for the glorification of religion, not industry. Even by today’s standards they are tall buildings. Unfortunately, by the end of the 1950s the mills were mostly redundant. Their historic pedigree ensured them listed status, which offered protection from demolition, but they lay derelict for

The mills’ historic pedigree ensured listed status and protection from demolition




“The mills are a very significant part of Britain’s history. People buying in the refurbished sections are literally picking up a slice of history”

structure, but essentially it will have to change irrevocably. You can’t renovate a building with kid gloves on.” Burrell believes it is wrong to do a pastiche of a building with such a rich history. “These buildings are more than 200 years old, they have been changed and modified over the years, parts of them have even burnt down – these things happen in the lifetime of a building. Our job is to make such oddities seem part of its character, rather than problematic.” The £12 million project to repair and strengthen Murray’s Mills has covered everything from the foundations, which in some places were less than six inches deep, to the newly laid Welsh slate roof. As well as 160,000 new handmade bricks, modern techniques were occasionally used. To get an old building up and running, modern intervention within the restoration is usually inevitable. Even with improved technology it can be impossible to accurately return buildings to their

original state due to a lack of original materials or appropriate skills. And, as Dickson explains: “The building needs to meet all new modern standards, although we sometimes have to make compromises and hope the end users understand. For example, the windows appear authentic but are double-glazed steel. They look fantastic and meet modern standards. The building already has big, thick walls that are great for retaining heat but we’ve introduced insulation into the roof to help.” In some instances the modern intervention is more obvious, which is preferable in Dickson’s mind, “I’m all for modern design, of the best quality, as long as it is clearly visible as such and, ideally, reversible.” For example, the Heritage Works logo and date were branded on to the new timber and cast-iron rainwater pipes used in the renovation of Murray’s Mills to ensure there was no confusion as to which were the new materials. As Burrell says: “I

think that when you make an alteration it should show – people shouldn’t have to struggle to tell which parts of the building are new.” The most obviously modern intervention, and a symbol of its rebirth, will be the modern, glass and wood Bengal Street wing, replacing the original lost to fire in the mid-1990s. The canal basin, infilled long ago to provide a car park, will be reinstated, giving the building back an original feature. It was originally linked via a tunnel to allow boats to bring raw cotton into the mill’s quadrangle and take out the finished product. Its modern purpose, however, will be aesthetic, as there are no plans to reconnect the basin with the Rochdale Canal. Dickson comments: “As part of the original mill we thought it should be opened up, as it’s a very unusual feature. Waterfront apartments are so desirable now that we hope the reinstated canal basin will be a boost to the mill’s future developers.”


At Royal Mills, also in Ancoats, the addition of a very modern £1 million curvy glass atrium over the original courtyard area is a prime example of how the juxtaposition of modern design and historic buildings can work well. Stephen Quicke of FSP architects explains how the atrium came into being: “Essentially it is very functional. The atrium encloses the commercial space, providing a protected environment that links all the business space. The glass sweeps up to the roof letting in plenty of light, while ensuring the apartments facing on to the courtyard area can open their windows.” While the dramatic feature forms the centrepiece of this award-winning project, the redevelopment of Royal Mills also includes the creation of three new buildings. Typically, converted industrial buildings attract a new, young and affluent crowd, including a high percentage of investors. But, to ensure

Ancoats’ redevelopment really is part of the community, Royal Mills’ developer ING has taken the unusual step of limiting the number of properties individuals can purchase within the scheme to ensure investors don’t snap up swathes of flats, which could lead to the mills becoming like a ghost town. Brzozowski believes it is important to get the balance of tenant right. “This area had lost much of its population, now we’re trying to bring back the liveliness. New residents have already moved in, we want people to come to Ancoats to live and maybe start a family.” He continues: “These mills are a very significant part of Britain’s history. There is a certain resonance with these buildings that you just don’t get with new-build. People like the historical aspect of the mills and new residents buying in the refurbished sections of Royal Mills are literally picking up a slice of history.” ●

Landmark site The increased use of brownfield sites for residential development has highlighted the issue of land contamination. Previously land remediation was simply a case of removing contaminated materials to a landfill site, but with fewer such sites available, higher costs and a strong emphasis on using environmentally friendly processes, other options are now being explored. An innovative system was used in New Islington, where houses and offices are being built on a site that was previously home to some of Manchester’s cotton mills. The process reduced costs by over £550,000 and saved 60,000 cubic metres of earth from landfill sites. Although the majority of the land was clean, the remediation was wholesale, with the site’s buildings crushed and all materials cleaned in-situ. Microbes were introduced to the crushed materials, and covered in polythene to accelerate the reaction, to break the contaminants down to acceptable levels. The remediation was undertaken by New Islington partner English Partnerships. David Chilton at EP explains that as no material was removed, a lot of rubble was left on site. This was used to build up land levels to establish the canal framework at the heart of the masterplan. “We used the material in a constructive way to create an asset, that will help the regeneration,” Chilton explains. “There are clear benefits to the methods we used in sustainability, the amount of energy used and quality of life, as the transferral of soil is often done by road, which creates pollution.” As Chilton points out, EP’s involvement highlights the role of the public sector in brownfield development. “The viability of some hardcore brownfield sites is undermined by the levels of contamination and cost of remediation. Contaminated land can often be seen as a barrier to investment.”


Parks 20

Green gauge From its beginnings as a green lung for factory workers, through neglect and decline, and to its new, modern-day reincarnation, Philips Park embodies the story of urban parks across the UK. Pamela Buxton reports.


strict ‘keep off the grass’ signs), being a convenient, close and cheap day out for working families. It was a great resource for the whole of Miles Platting, with facilities such as archery, skittles, and cricket, children’s equipment (including swings, play areas, called ‘gymnasia’, with seesaws and skipping areas, and the ingenious ‘giant strides’ spinning ride, intended to exhaust children quickly!). For the grown ups it offered a bandstand, boating lake and amphitheatre, alongside


that the park can once again play a significant role in the community, minus the factory smoke and grim housing conditions of its original context. Reaction to its recent refurbishment has been hugely positive. “It looks fantastic now,” says Josie Fletcher, local resident and chair of the Friends of Philips Park. “A lot of people notice the changes and are starting to come in and say ‘it’s looking good’. We’ll never be able to restore it to what it was, but hopefully more people will now use it.” At 12.5 hectares, Philips Park is one of the biggest of some 53 parks and green spaces in east Manchester. While it pre-dates the great Victorian era of model communities such as Bournville in Birmingham and Port Sunlight on Merseyside, it was built with similar intentions – to improve the living conditions of workers, benefiting both them and their employers, by providing them with places to relax, until then the preserve of the wealthy. Philips Park was paid for by public subscription, with a particular debt to the efforts of local MP Mark Philips, whose name the park takes, with the land bought from the estate of Lady Houghton for £6,200 equivalent to £400,000 today. Designed by Leeds landscape gardener Joshua Major to cope with the “...promenading of large numbers of persons”, on holidays it was flooded with many thousands of people (despite

hen it was built in 1846 as one of the world’s first municipal parks, Philips Park in east Manchester was surrounded by smoky factories and mines, and crowded workers’ housing. Like many Victorian parks, it was created as precious recreational space for workers at a time when most had no garden of their own, acting as ‘green lungs’ for the heavily polluted industrial landscape. Fast-forward to the late 20th century, and the factories, the core of the city’s manufacturing industry, had long gone, along with much of the housing, bringing social and economic deprivation. The population had more than halved, the housing market had collapsed, and more than half the households left in the area were dependent on benefit. Yet Philips Park remained, albeit cut off from its original context, neglected by local residents and a shadow of its former self. But now, thanks to £450,000 of investment between 2005 and 2007, the park is at the heart of the regeneration of east Manchester. As the area reinvents itself, with the Sportcity legacy from the 2002 Commonwealth Games, it’s hoped

Philips Park was designed by a landscape gardener to cope with the ‘promenading of large numbers of persons’

Parks 21


The leap of faith required to believe in such investment has paid off: the playground is extremely well used, and attracting children from quite a wide area 22 tennis courts, formal planted gardens, ornamental ponds (concreted over to create boating lakes in 1920) and wilder areas, helped by the varied contours of the natural landscape and the presence of the River Medlock. But, in common with so many parks around the country, its failing fortunes in the second half of the 20th century reflected less civic-minded times, as well as people increasingly having their own private open spaces. By 2001, although Philips Park was identified as a grade II listed site on the National Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest, there was a general air of decline. Original features such as the bandstand and the boating lake were either gone or not in their original use. Boundary railings had been taken down during the First World War, making the area feel less safe, a problem exacerbated by the state of the boundary wall, which in some sections had collapsed, leading to security fears and a problem with joy-riders driving

cars into the park and setting light to them. A lack of staff and maintenance had allowed it to become run down, and wooded areas had become so dense they were virtually no-go areas. All this was not helped by the disappearance of its original community, with the collapse of industry and clearance of the associated housing. “Generally, the park was run down,” says Steven Downey, rast area parks manager. “There was no management of woodlands, and motorbikes were getting in and causing problems. It needed some care.” The solution was £450,000 of investment including European, Northwest Regional Development Agency and New Deal for Communities funding.



rom the outside, the main change was much-needed improvement to the boundary wall, reinstating railings and introducing bollards at the entrance to deter vehicles. As parts of the wall were grade II listed, it was a major task to repair and source matching bricks. Together with an enhanced entrance, the whole Fairclough Street section, near the Velodrome, has been overhauled to greatly improve first impressions. A woodland thinning programme was instigated to improve safety, with the spin-off benefit of creating better views across the park. “We’ve taken out a lot so that you can see into the valley. It’s opened up aspects so that it feels safer to walk there,” says Downey. The woodland thinning, which has rid the park of the over-vigorous Japanese knotweed, has been particularly effective in Tulip Valley, which has been enhanced by the planting of bluebells, wild flowers and spring bulbs, such as narcissi and daffodils. Similar woodland clearing projects have removed ash, sycamore and poplar seedlings from woods by the River Medlock.

Another important element of the regeneration, which is now largely complete, is an adventure-style playground for children up to 12 years old, to complement the existing 0-8 age facility. The leap of faith needed to believe such investment wouldn’t be ruined by vandalism seems to have paid off: so far, the commitment has been vindicated with the playground proving extremely well used, attracting children from a wide area. A particular success is the zip-slide. “It’s quite vulnerable but has been in for a year now and is being used responsibly,” says Julie Lawrence, environmental programme manager for New East Manchester. Consultation is under way to ascertain the impact of the regeneration on users. Replacing the long-gone tennis courts is a popular bowling green and the quiet of the Peace Gardens, where an oak tree and circular seat serve as a reminder of the former factory workers that frequented the park.

Parks 23


ublicly funded improvements to the park coincide with the efforts of individuals such as Bill Booth, chairman of the allotments, who has worked hard over the past seven years to create an orchard with old varieties of apple, pear, plum, damson, cherry and quince. His hope is to open it up to local schools and the community in general for a few days each week. In the past, he’s been disappointed by the lack of take-up but is now a little more optimistic following the positive changes to the park, and the new emphasis on healthy eating. “It’s a beautiful thing and good for the environment,” he says, pledging to give another year of his time to nurturing the orchard. Use of the park is encouraged via two main annual community events – the fireworks party and the Party in the Park in July. This annual event, as well as being a fun day, is a great opportunity for the New East Manchester team

to interact with park-goers and get community feedback on what they like, or don’t like, about the park, and what facilities and activities they might like in the future. At the first event in 2005, locals were filmed talking about the area in a Big Brother-style diary room. The next year, they wrote their comments on cardboard washing on a ‘Tops & Pants’ washing line. And in 2007, children were given a voucher for a donkey ride in return for their parent’s mobile phone number, which could be used for text messaging community information. “It’s important for New Deals for Communities to be constantly getting feedback because it is a communityled regeneration,” says Lesley Spencer, principal regeneration officer for New East Manchester. “It’s an opportunity to get to a wider audience and reach people who wouldn’t normally come to public consultations.” Completion of the recent regeneration – which won the park a

Civic Trust green flag award in 2005, 2006 and 2007 – is not the end of the story. The Friends of Philips Park don’t want to just keep the new status quo, they want more. Top of its six-year action plan, constant upkeep needed to keep it safe and well-used, the friends also want to see the duck pond, rejuvenated with new plants, like water lilies. They’d love a café and are keen to reuse the arches from a viaduct that once transported coal to the factories and now all that’s left of the former surrounding industrial landscape. One important element of the regeneration is telling those too young to remember the original historical context of the park. Consequently, the Peace Garden has a plan of the area, with pictures showing the old factories and gasmeters, and smoke billowing over the park. While it’s important that the park looks to its new future as part of the rapidly regenerating area, it shouldn’t forget its past. ●

Enterprise 25

Industrial evolution Changing ingrained employment patterns is central to regenerating east Manchester. Jonathan Morrison investigates how the focus is changing from traditional manufacturing to entrepreneurialism.


be termed an entrepreneurial culture. Since New East Manchester’s creation in 2000, there has been a remarkable turnaround in the area’s fortunes, with the decline arrested, and even reversed. Jobs have been created, education improved and thousands of new homes constructed. Now, central to NEM’s plans for continued growth and prosperity – to ultimately create 15,000 jobs, 24,000 homes and double the local population before 2010 – is raising the aspirations of the community, and creating a whole new business base of small, local companies. This means transforming the mindset of residents, and creating entrepreneurs out of locals. It’s about giving people who’ve got little experience of business the confidence and skills to set up their own company.

“Most new jobs won’t come from our biggest employers but from our smallest. We’ve got to make dreams a reality”

And the plan is for not just one or two, but hundreds. This is smart thinking. Employment is perhaps the single biggest factor in turning a deprived area around. As Ross Perot, former presidential candidate and founder of EDS, once said: “Most new jobs won’t come from our biggest employers. They will come from our smallest. We’ve got to do everything we can to make entrepreneurial dreams a reality.” With a little ambition and training, personal fulfilment, prosperity and economic growth in east Manchester are becoming a real possibility. Karin Connell, NEM’s deputy economic programme manager, explains. “Historically, the number of entrepreneurs in east Manchester has been very low for various reasons: a lack of financial support from families, and postcode discrimination from banks and other lenders, low self-confidence and a lack of entrepreneurial role models,” she says. “This is combined with the fact that the area was home to a lot of traditional manufacturing companies which offered a job for life. Many of those companies have since closed down and jobs requiring similar skills have just not been available. Self-employment can be a good alternative to going back into the traditional labour market. “We’re now addressing this and taking enterprise levels up to the

ith the BBC’s Dragon’s Den now compulsory viewing for anyone who has ever dreamed of running their own business or inventing the next must-have widget, there’s never been a greater interest in entrepreneurs and their, sometimes improbable, ideas. But while most people think of entrepreneurship as a way to selffulfilment and occasionally an early retirement, New East Manchester sees it as a way of regenerating an entire urban area. After the industrial revolution, east Manchester was the centre of the manufacturing industry on which the city’s wealth was based. But once these industries began to decline, then disappear, the area experienced extensive social, economic and physical decline, leading to the loss of around 60% of existing jobs between 1975 and 1985. As the population was forced from work, the housing market collapsed and those who could, left to find employment elsewhere. By 2000, a fifth of properties in the area were vacant, with half of the remaining households receiving benefits. A low skills base, coupled with high crime and poor facilities, served to deter investment. And there certainly wasn’t anything that could

Enterprise 26

“We get local people in through the doors and give them an interest in bettering themselves. In about 30% of cases, people set up their own companies”

possible to walk in off the street and leave (some time later) with a management degree. Citing the area’s industrial history, chief executive David Auckland likes to think of OCP as the modern equivalent of Manchester’s cotton mills. Just as they stimulated a host of spin-off ideas, industries and opportunities, so the ‘knowledge mill’ of OCP is an ideas production line leading to new high technology industries and opportunities. In fact, OCP now represents the highest concentration of further education and higher education in Europe, with three universities and a college on board.


uckland says: “It’s a new concept, so people sometimes find it hard to grasp – we’re the first of our kind in the world. OCP provides a place where you can advance knowledge and set up a company. We’re linked into the community through the training we offer, while the other half of the site is devoted to enterprise and business creation. You can’t just drop businesses into the heart of a deprived area. We provide the interface. “We get local people in through the doors all the time and we give them an interest in bettering themselves. In about 30% of cases, people set up their own companies. Another 30% say we’ve changed their lives – typically by giving them more confidence and encouraging them to take charge of their destinies. “We also help get the universities’ knowledge out of their cloisters and into the economy, transferring skills and learning at the same time. A good business idea can therefore draw on the latest research and best-practice and advice. We teach in a radical way as well – entrepreneurs don’t want to be sitting exams. It’s just not appropriate, so we teach through mentoring. “We’re also focused on promoting the area to outsiders. Bigger organisations like Fujitsu are starting to be attracted

national average, then hopefully beyond, by tackling issues like poor or nonexistent credit ratings, and demystifying the process of starting a new business. We’ve brought in experts like Permjot Valia, a serial investor, to provide advice and support, as well as bankers, lawyers and accountants. We can provide indepth support and hold people’s hands if they need it. We firmly believe that entrepreneurship is one of the best options for local people, providing a good opportunity for them to develop a career. “It’s a long-term thing, and it will obviously take a while to redevelop the area, but we’re already changing the mindset – you can’t fail to notice the increasing aspirations of local people.” Among the schemes being encouraged are a community support group for recovering drug addicts that helps them find work framing pictures, a company selling specialist tiles for home or commercial interior design, a software company enabling people to design and build house extensions, a company exporting used farming and logistics vehicles to east Africa and a company providing training and advertising solutions in the taxi trade. Although the aim is to encourage knowledge-based enterprises, the scheme helps cleaners and gardeners as much as recording studios and computer technicians. As well as connecting entrepreneurs to start-up funding, they sharpen up the business plans of aspiring companies and introduce them to investors. At the heart of east Manchester, One Central Park is the physical embodiment of the entrepreneurial culture. A 9,290sq m campus in Central Park, a 130,065sq m business park, OCP acts half as an incubator for new business and half as a college for learning the skills needed to succeed in business. Supported by an impressive array of academic institutions, including the University of Manchester, it’s entirely

Philips Park world of opportunity East Manchester during its days as a thriving industrial region was at the forefront of commercial, technological and social development. And it was the people of East Manchester that did it. One Central Park is spearheading their return to the forefront. One Central Park is a unique and enterprising development drawing together the expertise of the City’s universities, MANCAT and Manchester Science Park in the fields of enterprise, business development and training to create a centre devoted to the economic regeneration of East Manchester, by the people of East Manchester. The investment of these organisations in One Central Park together with that of NEM, NWDA and the ERDF is an investment in the people of East Manchester and it is beginning to pay off. Opened just two years ago, One Central Park is now operating at full capacity creating new companies, new entrepreneurs and new technologists. It is attracting into the area highly skilled young professionals who would not normally come to East Manchester, to set up their businesses and their homes. But they are coming, staying and growing. Typically, Citrus Lounge is a web design and development company, established in 1998 and previously based in South Manchester. The company is fronted by husband-and-wife team Chris Whalley (Managing Director and experienced web developer), and Susanna Lawson (background in NVQ training, management and assessment). Citrus Lounge have recently developed a sophisticated online eportfolio product called OneFile, endorsed by City & Guilds, and high demand for the product quickly led to the requirement to grow the business and take on more staff.

this enterprise, this skill and this environment. Local people from all walks of life are beginning to join training programmes in enterprise, innovation, information science and communications technology. Over 600 learners are presently pursuing courses in information and communications whilst over a 100 are scheduled to join programmes, over the next 12 months, devoted to enterprise, innovation and business creation. One Central Park is beginning to work. Companies are being created, and people are being trained. The rebuilding of the economic community is underway with One Central Park playing the role its stakeholders and supporters hoped for. New building alongside One Central Park is underway to house its growing companies and to accommodate those moving to Central Park to be part of the New East Manchester. And its not just smaller companies that are interested in joining in, for there is increasing interest from larger organisations that see the awakening of East Manchester as an opportunity not to be missed. But at the end of the day it is all about the people of East Manchester. The experience at One Central Park says quite clearly that the spirit of innovation and enterprise is there despite the difficulties of the past. It is being revived. East Manchester is on its way back to the front.

“We decided to move our business to East Manchester after a meeting with Tony Walker of the University of Manchester Incubator Company. We viewed One Central Park and were completely bowled over. Journey times into One Central Park from South Manchester were not too bad but we soon began to realise that massive amounts of regeneration were taking place, and with the tram line planned things would only get better. We curiously searched the internet for a desirable place to live closer to work and found the house of our dreams in New Moston”. Chris is now building a website for NEPHRA – the local resident’s association. East Manchester’s past glory was driven by the enterprise and the skill of local people who represented a resourceful and flexible environment in which to invest time and money of their own and of those from outside. OCP is rekindling

For further information visit or contact Professor David Auckland on 0161 918 6902

Enterprise “Bigger organisations are now starting to be attracted in, and as they prosper they’ll employ locals” 28 ●ONE CENTRAL PARK in, and as all these companies grow and prosper, they’ll employ locals. We want to turn a trickle into a steady flow, and get more young professionals in who’ll build their lives here. It happened in south Manchester, so we’re here to kickstart the process in east Manchester. It won’t be quick, but it will be effective.” One of the schemes that started at OCP is Foresight Health, set up by Michelle Clarke, who spent nearly nine years working for BUPA and then Norwich Union before going it alone. Foresight provides a variety of healthcare services to local companies, reducing employee absenteeism and protecting income and key personnel.

The company is just 18 months old but has won several prestigious contracts, gained recognition from the Financial Services Authority, and already has ambitious plans for expansion. She explains: “It’s definitely a case of poacher turned gamekeeper. With my industry experience I really felt I could tailor healthcare protection to a client’s needs much better than any other firm. “OCP made a huge difference to me: I developed excellent relationships with the other entrepreneurs, and they helped me generate business. We all looked out for each other and helped each other grow. One of the best bits was the sense of community, being

surrounded by people going through the good times and bad times with you and who helped to keep you going. “It was also a great place to pick up new and vital skills through formal training and mentoring – in my case in sales and marketing with another company based at One Central Park called Winning Pitch. “I really feel that this project will create jobs for local people: for example the rapid expansion of Foresight has allowed me to take on two apprentices. They are being trained to be qualified financial advisors, with the strong possibility that they’ll end up with MBAs.” ●

Roots 30

Local hero East Manchester’s most famous musical son, Shayne Ward, wouldn’t have got where he is today without Music Stuff, a pioneering community project which believes in the regenerative power of unleashing young peoples’ creativity.


could have hung around the streets, got into the wrong crowd, but I knew there was more to life.” To Shayne Ward, 2006 X-factor winner, that something more was music. As a shy 14-year-old, he could only bring himself to sing on his own in his bedroom, and the thought of getting up on a stage was terrifying. That was, until he discovered Music Stuff. Established eight years ago by Stephanie and Lenny Portersmith, who are passionate about the value of creative and participatory arts activities in boosting personal and social development in individuals and the community, Music Stuff gives youngsters access to musical and creative opportunities they would otherwise not have, from playing drums, guitar or keyboards and singing, to using software to write and record music, using sequencers and samplers, or even making pop videos or radio programmes. Its facilities include a recording studio, PC suite, live space, music technology area and a teaching area. It’s all delivered by expert staff and trained musicians. The organisation is based in Openshaw, but young people from all across Manchester can use its studio production projects, complementary education, multi media projects, performance

opportunities, music workshops and professional development services. It has opened a second centre in Tameside. Music Stuff started life as a pilot project commissioned by Alun Francis from New Deal for Communities, with the support of Sue Brooks from Manchester Youth Service and Claire Evans from what is now 4ct, a voluntary organisation. Both Sue and Claire were instrumental in helping Music Stuff develop in those early years. Of all the many people Music Stuff has helped through the years the most famous is, of course, Shayne Ward. The two first met when he was 15, and doing a project at Clayton youth club. His singing talents were obvious, but until Music Stuff came along, he had no opportunity for vocal tuition to fine-tune his talent. Music Stuff helped to build his confidence by giving him opportunities to record in the studio, perform on stage and write and record his own music. In all, Shayne attended music projects for about four years, which gave him the focus and direction he needed. “I came here every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” says Shayne. “I met some amazing people and really enjoyed myself. It’s an experience I’ll never forget.” Lenny says of his time at Music Stuff: “Shayne was great to work with, and always responsive to taking direction. Although he was lacking a little in

confidence, at the same time he had a certain presence – perhaps you could call it star quality!” While for Shayne it was all about building his confidence and developing his musical opportunities, for other young people in east Manchester Music Stuff is a way of promoting personal and social development, and breaking down barriers into learning. Alongside its high-quality musical opportunities is its equally important youth work. Working in partnership with other bodies, Music Stuff can help find training courses, and get help with social or personal problems. It can find courses, training programmes or employment, enterprise education projects, help with drug and alcohol problems, sexual health, mental health and housing.    “The most rewarding part of being involved in Music Stuff is being able to see someone’s attitude change, when they realise that they can achieve something that they are proud of,” says Lenny. “The whole point is to put some self-belief and pride back into people, then facilitate all the positive changes that come from that.” One of the main bonuses to the community is how it diverts youngsters from crime. As Shayne says: “I remember reading a great quote saying that I’m an inspiration to the ASBO generation. That has to be the best thing ever written about me.” ●



Lenny Portersmith of Music Stuff, says: “Mr Cowell and Mr Walsh: there is plenty more where Shayne came from”

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Thought process 33

Lower Medlock Valley After years of decline, plans are under way to transform this almost rural setting, right next to

the city centre, into a tranquil urban quarter of high-quality homes. Fourteen of its 40 hectares will be developed to provide 800 new family dwellings (at 45 to 60 per hectare), 8.4 hectares of open space, and improvements to both the river environment and roads. A consortium of Bellway Homes, Taylor Wimpey and Lovell Partnerships has been appointed to deliver the new neighbourhood, to a masterplan by Taylor Young. With its meandering river and dense woodland the valley presents an unusual set of challenges. Sarah Herbert asked Taylor Young how they are being met.

The river has always been a barrier between the two sides of the valley. How can they be better linked together? Via very strong pedestrian linkages across and along the valley, including new pedestrian bridges across the river, and cycle paths running northsouth. Existing roads will be joined together through new and improved infrastructure.

How will the valleyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leafy appeal be retained? The regeneration will seek to conserve and enhance the riverside, which gives the area its special character. The masterplan is based on integrating new development sensitively while retaining substantial public parks alongside the river. All properties will be linked into the valley through green corridors.


How will the topography of the site affect the masterplan? The river valley will be retained as a green corridor, with its sloping banks kept as open spaces, and most of the new buildings on relatively flat ground away from the waterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s edge. Development plots will reflect the contours of the valley and meanders of the river, and new avenues will run along the ridges of the valley.

Thought process 34 How is the need for open space being balanced with the need for security? Simply, by maximising natural surveillance by ensuring frontages overlook the green spaces, which will be modelled to create more visible and well-defined routes. At night, streets and pedestrian routes will be well-lit.

With new roads in place, how can the problems of traffic be minimised? The priority will be convenient local access into and across the development. A hierarchy of streets, with incrementally less traffic, will be created, incorporating existing roads. The restructuring will reduce the volume of non-local traffic, and the problem of rat runs. The redevelopment will retain existing buildings. Why is this? The aim is to improve the valley for everyone, not just for new residents. We learned from public consultation that many existing residents were very keen to stay in the area.

What will be the valleyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s relationship with the rest of the city? The improved riverside and green spaces will be accessible and welcoming to all, with good walking links into the city centre. New infrastructure addressing a historic lack of coherence will knit the area back into the rest of the city.

How can all the open space be balanced with the need for a density high enough to make the development, retail and amenities, viable? The developers did not sit down and demand high numbers of new houses for the area: rather, the approach to density has been design-led. In fact as the design process evolved, the number of homes has actually reduced to ensure that the green character is not lost. What has been important is that the designs make very efficient use of land.

So, what sort of people will live here? It will be the sort of place where families will want to live, as a natural step on for those who want more space, but near the city centre. Houses will dominate, to provide an alternative to city-centre apartment living.

Philips Park

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Gorton Monastery



A multi-million pound restoration of Gorton Monastery, dubbed Manchester’s Taj Mahal, has brought it back to its former glory. Built in 1872, for over a century the monastery of St Francis was home to friars and the local Catholic church, and was the heart of the Gorton community in the 1960s and 70s. But congregations dwindled, and the monastery held its final mass in 1989.

Even after developers bought it for conversion into flats, its ignominious decline continued, as, boarded up and neglected, it was vandalised and stripped of most of its valuable artefacts. Some of its statues were even recovered from auctions, being sold as garden ornaments. Then in 1996, rescue arrived in the form of the Monastery of St Francis & Gorton Trust, a group of passionate volunteers who

bought it for a mere £1 from the receivers. Since then campaigners saw the monastery included on the World Heritage list of 100 most endangered sites, and over 10 years raised the £6 million needed to save the local landmark. After two years of restoration, in June 2007 it reopened its doors, and now hosts conferences, banquets, community events and even weddings, and has been used as a film location. ●

Then&now 37



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Interview Eddie Smith Acting chief executive New East Manchester 0161 223 1155


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Bulletin New Islington Claudia Gilbert Development planner Urban Splash 0161 839 2999

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Openshaw Mike Corcoran HMR project manager New East Manchester 0161 234 1494

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Central Park Caty Cartwright SKV PR 0161 838 7770


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Conservation Andy Burrell Managing director The Burrell Company 0131 220 3040

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Kate Dickson Director Heritage Works 0161 236 8581

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Parks Steve Downey Parks manager 0161 773 1085 Ext 21


Enterprise Karin Connell Deputy economic programme manager New East Manchester 0161 223 1155

Roots Lenny Portersmith Director Music Stuff 0161 223 8700

Thought process Peter Skates Development director New East Manchester 0161 223 1155

Then and now Gillian Boyle Principal development manager New East Manchester 0161 223 1155



innovatiONS IN regeneration finance

27 March 2008, 9.00 - 6.00 Russell Hotel, London W1

08 nO  ne-day summit to explore new regeneration finance partnerships with the public sector 08


n Find out the best specialpurpose vehicle for your regeneration programme


SOCINVEST08 08 n Practical advice from HM Treasury and English Partnerships



n M  eet your peers from


across the UK and hear case studies from innovative local authorities

SocInvest brings together heads of regeneration and finance from local authorities and private-sector funders to discuss specialpurpose financial vehicles for regeneration – URVs, CDCs, LHCs, LABVs – and exchange ideas and experiences of innovative regeneration partnerships. Speakers include:

SOCINVEST08 08 your place at, Book by calling delegate manager Kirsten Taylor on 0207 978 6840, or emailing Team discounts available on request.



Charlie Parker Investment and performance, English Partnerships

Brian Field JESSICA task force, European Investment Bank

John Holmes Chief executive, Hull Citybuild

Tony Middleton Divisional director of asset and Facilities, London Borough of Croydon

Organised by:


EARNING OV E R £16,500? Now you ca

n aff ord t o b

Buy your fir s the Fir st Tim t home through e Buyer Init Perf ect for: iative •

Call now to your intere register st Sportcity

Sale show apart s & Marketing Suite and me Off Alan Tu nt open daily 11am – 6pm. ring Way, M anchester M11 4AY

0161 231 6 www.sportc 067 it ylivi

Get an afford a of 50% of th ble mort gage at a min imum e purchase schemes y ou pay no re price. Unlike other nt the governm ent funded for 3 years on percentage .



F irst time b • Key work uyer e • Social Te r nant • On a Ho us • Able to p ing A ssociation waitin g ay a 5% eq uity deposit list


Where there ’s more to life

*Disclaimer: 50% is the maximum government contribution. Some eligible buyers will qualify for lower levels of assistance. Eligibility conditions apply. When owners sell their FTBI home, they will repay the government’s contribution by way of a share of the future sale proceeds. £1000 reservation fee payable on reservation. Images are indicative only.

Leading sustainable developments

Looking East #2  

Regeneration and investment in East Manchester, issue 2, published March 2008.

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